Tom Serratore said he was very proud of his players on Sunday night after their 6-2 stomping of the Gophers at Mariucci Arena.
"It's an exciting time," he said.
It sure is. The Bemidji Regional Events Center, a 4,300-seat facility where the Beavers will play, is coming along nicely. His team toured the place last Wednesday. It should be enclosed by Thanksgiving so work can continye on the inside all winter.
And the win over the Gophers was BSU's first in eight games, seven at Mariucci. "Things spiraled and we were fortunate early," said Serratore, whose team led 2-0 after the first period despite being outshot 10-4.
"Sometimes you get quirky bounces, you get puck lucky," Serratore said, "but the biggest thing which we did, even when they had the time of possesion, was we defended extremely well. We took the middle of the rink away."
In the middle of the second period, the Beavers had a five-minute power play after Zach Budish was called for checking from behind. That was a key turning point also.
"We had a hard time, they hit that pipe," Serratore said. 'We were a plus-one, we didn't give one up and we got one. All you want to do is pop one on that five-minute major and we were very fortunate to do that."
A minute into that long power play, Tony Lucia of the Gophers almost had his third shorthanded goal but his shot hit the crossbar, A minute later, Jamie MacQueen scored for BSU to give the Beavers a 3-1 lead.
Getting the lead is huge in hockey, Serratore said, adding: "There is not a lot of scoring so any time you get a lead obviously it gives you a little bit of security."
* On why he switched goalies from Dan Bakala to freshman Mathieu Dugas on Saturday: "It's a noncoference game. We got to give this kid some playing time. We have to, we have to develop our players."
* On whether Beavers are ready for the WCHA next season: "We played a lot of WCHA teams over the course of the last six years. We still got a lot of work to go. I don't even want to comment on that because we got to worry about this year. I do know when we get in that league next year and you play for points every weekend, it's a whole new ballgame."
* Are you happy with way team responded to Friday's 4-1 loss: "Absolutely. We lost [Friday] night and we responded and got a win [Sunday] night. I am extremely happy. This is not an easy place to play."
BEAVERS LOOK FORWARD TO MORE WINS VS. U
Junior center Matt Read said the Beavers had been playing well coming into last weekend, Especially Read. He had seven goals and seven assists for 14 points in eight games for a 7-0-1 team.
Even so, beating the Gophers was still quite an accomplishment. BSU had been 0-6-0 in the all-series with the U.
"It's a huge win for us," Read said. "And hopefully down the future, the Beavers will be able to play the Gophers and it will be a heads up matchup when we are in the WCHA. Hopefully, we can win a couple more and ride from there."
Next season, the Beavers are in the Dodge Holiday Classic at Mariucci on Dec. 31 and Jan 1, but probably will not be guaranteed to meet the Gophers in that four-team event. Most likely the two WCHA teams will be in opposite brackets, so they won't meet unless both win or both lose their first game.
The Gophers will play BSU in their new arena on March 4-5, 2011 on the final weekend of WCHA regular-season games.
But back to Sunday and the Beavers' mindset going into the final period with a 3-1 cushion: "We had one objective going in, just win the third period," Read said. "We had a power play and we scored a quick power play goal and that kind of put them on their heels and we just kept bringing the pressure. We played smart hockey the whole period. We never gave them a chance.
"A four-line effort. Every line had a goal tonight, a great team effort for the win."
Read is right there. The Beavers' scoring was spread throughout the lineup. Four forwards, each on different lines, had goals, including Jamie MacQueen who had two, and defenseman Brad Hunt had the other goal.
"We had our first hard test this weekend against the Gophers," Read said. "We didn't bring it Saturday night but tonight we played very well and we played the way we are taught. We played a smart game and it shows at the end of the night [with] what the final score was."